The franchise tags are starting to roll in throughout the NFL and one of the top safeties in line to hit the open market on March 13 won’t be going anywhere as the San Francisco 49ers used their franchise designation on S Dashon Goldson. A week from Tuesday, the new league year will commence and you can expect the Jets to make at least a few moves.
“They don’t have a lot of salary cap space, but they are always active,” Adam Schefter told newyorkjets.com. “You look at what’s gone on with the coaching staff after a disappointing season, and Rex Ryan said that he wasn’t expecting any changes and we’ve already seen a lot of changes. I think the same will be true on the players’ side. They don’t have the flexibility to make a lot of moves, but again somehow I expect them to make a lot of moves.”
The Jets’ needs have been talked about in many circles and they include outside linebacker, No. 2 receiver, safety and backup quarterback. After some internal discord in 2011, the Green & White will want to add talented players who will be assets in the locker room.
“You want to make sure you have the right football character in your locker room,” said ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. “They’re not all going to be saints, but you need good football character people and they’ve lost some. They’ve lost some really good football-character people in there and they have to make sure if they go out in that free agency market that they are signing not just talented players but they have good football-character players.”
While the Green & White missed the postseason, they won four playoff games the previous two seasons and were 8-5 after 13 games this past season. There are pieces in place on both sides of the ball and this isn’t a terribly old team, either.
“I still look at a team that went to an AFC title game two years in a row,” Mortensen said. “This is not a team that is bankrupt. It always bothers me when I hear fans say, ‘We have to make a bunch of changes, we have to make a bunch of changes.’ Well, you always retool, you always fine-tune, you always do self-evaluations of what you need to get better. And you go forward and you play out the next season.
“It ain’t broke, so it’s just a matter of what do you have to do to get it back? Sometimes you just have to win two more games to get into the tournament and I mean that’s what it is. If you get into the tournament, you have a chance. The Jets proved that, the Giants just proved it again and the Packers proved it the year before.”
Busy already this offseason, New York’s AFC representative shook up their coaching staff with the additions of offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, O-line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal and defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. Sparano has not only received internal praise but many pundits also believe the Jets scored with the hire of the former Dolphins head coach.
“I think it was a great pickup and the great thing about it was the guy was really well-liked and well-regarded by his players,” Schefter said. “The players who played for him really liked him and really respected him, and he’s widely considered a really good coach in the football community. Dolphins fans have a lot of reasons to be upset and frustrated, and I think Tony Sparano — unfortunately for him — was a scapegoat for a lot of that and I think the Dolphins’ loss will be the Jets’ gain.”
“You want to see if Tony Sparano will bring what his head coach, Rex Ryan, wants him to bring, which is a toughness to that team,” added Mort. “Tony, people might think of him as a former offensive line coach, which he is, but he brings in explosive plays downfield. So you’d like to see that element of it and they have to get consistent at running the ball. Not ground and pound, just consistent running the ball.”
This coming week we’ll air our Combine interviews with Mortensen and Schefter.
The hot topic in the NFL the past several days is the league’s investigation into the charge of bounties being issued on opposing players by the Saints from 2009-11. Rex Ryan was asked about the topic and issued the following statement through the team Saturday: “This is something that is being handled by the NFL office. I’ve never condoned it and I’ve never coached it.”
Tags: Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen, ESPN, NFL Combine, Rex Ryan, Tony Sparano
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